For the fifth year in a row, the community has shown its appreciation for Huron Shores Hospice by supporting the Hope for Hospice ungala gala.
The gala, originally a live event that raised money through a silent auction and live auction of upscale handbags, experience-packages and donated items, moved to a virtual format in 2020, due to restrictions imposed by the pandemic.
Because funds raised through this event are critical to the ongoing operation of the two-bed suite and its programming, the board of directors opted to move forward with the 2.0 version of the gala for the second year.
“We are so appreciative of the tremendous support of our community for our Hope for Hospice 2.0," said co-chair Cheryl Cottrill. “We must raise $220,000 per year in the community to continue the operation of the hospice. This money is on top of the $105,000 we receive from the Ministry of Health. The money is used for day to day operations of the residential hospice as well as community programs. All services for the residents and families who reside in our hospice suites and use our programming are free.”
The virtual gala, held on Sept. 16, began at 6 p.m., with instructions offered on how to create an amazing charcuterie board and how to mix the signature event cocktail. At 6:30 p.m. the fun began, with all the elements of any great party on the agenda; a silent auction, live music, contests and some spirited bidding on the four live auction items.
Master of ceremonies Phillip Craig opened the evening (to the theme from Rocky), followed by co-chairs Cottrill and Carol Rencheck, who thanked the many sponsors and businesses who supported the event. Host sponsors, Duncan and Lesley Hawthorne, sent greetings from across the Atlantic.
Over the next hour and a half, 253 ticket holders enjoyed entertainment, provided by Morgan Ritchie and duo Christina Edwards and Liz Coates and touching tributes from Caroline Pritchard and the Battler family.
The highlight of the evening was the return of Layne the Auctionista, who boldly announced “I am back” to viewers. And back she was, encouraging and cajoling bidders interested in the four spectacular auction items, to bid just $50 more. Winners included Margaret McBeath, who took home the Michael Kors leather satchel, Bharath Nangia, winner of the party-time cooler, Tracy Primeau, who captured the Kin-cation experience package and Cathy Sprague, who placed the winning bid on the Sumac & Salt in-home dining evening. After each final bid, Layne clapped her hands and shouted her well-known catchphrase, “all-in, all-out-it’s sold!”
By the time the evening ended (and the after party began), Cottrill said an early estimate of total revenue, before expenses, is $182,500, of which $27,100 was raised through the live and silent auctions. The goal for the evening was to raise $150,000. There were 106 silent auction items available for bid. Rencheck said 130 sponsorships, both monetary and in-kind, were made.
“A very big heartfelt thank you to all our monetary and in-kind sponsors who always step up in a big way to support our community hospice,” said Cottrill. “We very much appreciate their willingness to partner with us to create a world where end-of-life receives the same beauty, care and support as the beginning, by creating moments that matter for our residents and their families.”
Tammy Schneider, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Kincardine Independent